Last weekend my nana, Helene Hall, passed away. Her health had been declining for a while, but I did not realize that our visit with her over Christmas would be our last. I’m grateful for that visit, and for the last few phone calls we were able to have.
Nana was the kind of person that did exactly what she wanted to do with her life, all the way up until the end. I never imagined someone could be so at peace with their own death. But she simply wanted to be with her husband (we called him Poppie), who died when I was 12.
Apparently I had a thing for combing Poppie’s hair when I was little.
I think because I was the first grandchild on that side of my family I had a special bond with Nana. I remember she kept a makeup kit for me at her house and I would spend hours smearing it all over my face and admiring my handiwork in one of those vanity mirrors. Nana was a true woman of the Mad Men era. You never saw her without her hair perfectly coiffed and her nails freshly painted. One of my friends called her ‘sparkly grandma’ because she always wore a glittering jacket at the holidays.
I was lucky to get 31 years of memories with her, and I’ll treasure those always.